After missing the entire season with a shoulder injury, Colin Curtis is finally back on the field in the Venezuelan Winter League. In his first three games for Aguilas del Zulia, Curtis has already seen time in all three outfield positions. It’s early — obviously — but he’s hitting .333 (3-for-9) with one double, one walk, one strikeout, one sacrifice and one hit by pitch.
He’s in that group — with Greg Golson, Chris Dickerson and Justin Maxwell — of outfielders who could play a bench role at some point next season. One difference might be that Curtis has options remaining. I’m not sure the other three do.
And yes, the Venezuelan Winter League is where Wilson Ramos was playing when he was kidnapped this week. That’s a really scary situation, obviously.
• In the Dominican Winter League, Hector Noesi made another start on Wednesday and went six scoreless innings. That’s his third straight start without an earned run, spanning a total of 17 innings. He has a 1.66 ERA through five outings. He’s struck out 14, walked five, and he’s getting more than twice as many ground outs as fly outs.
• In the Arizona Fall League, David Phelps picked up his first win in his most recent start. He allowed two runs on three hits through five innings. After a rocky beginning down in Arizona, Phelps’ past two starts have been pretty good. He’s one of those guys constantly mentioned as a possible rotation candidate next year.
• Splitting time between shortstop and third base, Ramiro Pena is hitting .364 through seven games in the Mexican Winter League. He also has a homer and as many walks as strikeouts.
• Speaking of Mexico, Jorge Vazquez continues to rake down there. He hit his ninth home run yesterday, and he’s batting .327 through 25 games. Still strikes out a ton — he already has 30 Ks — but the guy can clobber a baseball, no doubt.
• Settling in at third base in Arizona, utility man Ronnier Mustelier is hitting .340 with two home runs in 13 Fall League games. He played all over the field this season, but he’s been strictly a third baseman in Arizona.
• Infielder Corban Joseph doubled in today’s Fall League game, and he’s hit for decent power down there, but he’s batting just .221, which is kind of odd for him… Joseph’s teammate Rob Segedin — primarily a third baseman, who’s been getting all of his time in left field — is hitting .261/.370/.424 in the Fall League.
• Another scoreless inning for reliever Chase Whitley in the Arizona Fall League. His ERA is down to 1.84 with a .204 opponents batting average… Another Yankees reliever, Preston Claiborne, has allowed a run in his past two Fall League outings, but he still has good overall numbers… A third Yankees reliever in the Fall League, Dan Burawa, finally had a scoreless outing this week, but his overall Arizona numbers remain ugly.
• Trying to bounce back from a disappointing year in Double-A, 40-man outfielder Melky Mesa is hitting .389/.421/.611 through his first eight games in the Dominican… Mesa’s Double-A teammate Ray Kruml is hitting .364 through just four games in Puerto Rico… Two other outfielders, Abe Almonte and Ziolo Almonte, are both off to slow starts in the Dominican, with neither getting much playing time.
• Catching prospect Gary Sanchez, who was injured late in the year, is back on the field in the Dominican Winter League. He’s played only once.
• Switch pitcher Pat Venditte is holding lefties to a .211 average and righties to a .214 average in Mexico.